Customer’s Choice or Company’s Impulse and Convenience?

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 652 , Published on 19 November 2015
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The advent of destructively agile marketing strategies and the excruciatingly demanding thirst of organizations to increase profits to grow beyond the air in their lungs endangers them to a counter-productive future as customers begin to detest the suffocatingly specialized (read limited) interface between the product and its purchase. A considerable number of business entities are increasingly going the mobile app way as a platform for online purchase.


There is as such no problem with that as long as it concurrently operates with web-based purchases which is where many players are absurdly making mistake. Several entities are streamlining their product availability to mobile apps only and that is where the seed of a potential discontentment among customers lies. This propensity among companies to reduce costs by not maintaining multiple platforms and to stay ahead of the trend (they perceive mobile application purchases to be the future) actually exposes them to greater risks. In a market that still pursues web-based purchases voraciously (even 67% of mobile users) and which still does not substantiate its shift to app-based purchases, any attempt to offer anything against customer consumption patterns will backfire. Why has not customers responded negatively?


Image: pixabay


This is because they do not deter purchasing through mobile apps (agreed that app purchases are increasing at a faster rate) while concurrently carrying out a majority of their purchases on web. So, if organizations equate a “not dissatisfied” with a “satisfied enough” then it is but misconstrued.

A considerable traction is being attracted by mobile apps and that is primarily because of it being a push model where in products and services reach the customer as opposed to a pull model where in the customer has to reach out to products and services. So, the customer need not invest time and efforts in searching for what he/she wants with convenience at his/her palms. However, how long do you think will web take to position itself as a push model given that it has to factor in lesser costs and simpler setup processes as compared to its app-based counterpart?


Moreover, no amount of modernity and utility of the app (assuming that apps will consistently offer greater transactional convenience than web in the future which in itself is farfetched and flawed) can replace the experience of the web from a consumer behavioural perspective. Of course there will always be some customers who are tech-savvy and/or are in an incessant search for convenience but this reality parallely exists with the other that has customers who will always be loyal to the web. Therefore, how can you think of sustaining a business model that banks on apps exclusively? It’s like expecting mobiles and tablets to replace television or expecting e-newspapers to replace its printed counterpart.


In fact, missing out on such nuances of consumer insights has costed business entities heavily in the past. What happened to ready-to-eat products after an initial spurt of excitement among customers? Have they been wiped off the market? No. Some working women still find value in its proposition. Does that render it profitable to the extent to which it targeted? Certainly not.


It is important to acknowledge that the debate over customers preferring web over app or vice versa is contextual. To a blogging site embracing web might make more sense whereas to a photo-sharing service provider embracing app might cut the ice. So, none can still be ruled over the other.


It is indeed hard to resist apparently opportune changes (on the part of business entities) banking on something that you find promise in as the onus to stay buoyant in the market becomes colossal which is particularly relevant in e-commerce (presently one of the most fiercely competitive spaces) where the number of players aspiring to drive the next big change is increasing exponentially. This is actually a survival strategy and not driven by an intent to become the market leader which implies the extent to which even established players are pushed to maintain profit margins. Therefore, organizations tend to jump the gun when it comes to thoroughly analysing a proposition before embracing it which might have catastrophic repercussions in the future.


This article has been authored by Somesh Chowdhury from IIM Shillong


References

1. Is a mobile app better than a mobile website?: by Scott Bolinger (https://apppresser.com)

2. The future of mobile may not look like apps: by Matt Asay (http://readwrite.com)

3. Responsive websites vs Web apps and Native apps- And why it matters (http://buildfire.com)



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